Changes sought in sex abuse laws

A "Fair Fight Rally" was held in front of the Massachusetts State House by supporters of the Protection from Sexual Predators Act of 2011 yesterday morning.

Calling child sexual abuse “slow murder,” advocates for a bill that would end the statute of limitations for abuse cases rallied at the State House yesterday.

Survivors of abuse spoke in favor of the bill at the rally led by victim attorney Carmen Durso and the Massachusetts Citizens for Children.

A victim can sometimes take decades to deal with their abuse and come forward, survivors said.

“I did try to move on and forget things, but the time for me was 48 [years old],” said tennis player Heather Conner who has alleged being abused by her coach and International Tennis Hall of Fame member Bob Hewitt. “I was told to never ever, ever tell. That was pretty ingrained in my mind.”

Another athlete, former Philadelphia Eagles player Al Chesley, said it also took him until the age of 48 to speak about abuse that happened to him as a teen.

“I want to protect kids from going through what I went through. For many years it killed my spirit.”
The bill was the subject of a Judiciary Committee hearing yesterday.

About the bill

Advocates said the bill contains key elements to help survivors earn
justice and to protect children:
   
Eliminates entirely the criminal statute of limitations for indecent
assault and battery and rape for all minors.
   
Eliminates the civil statute of limitations for past and future
childhood sexual abuse claims.
   
Increases penalties for some mandated reporters who do not report sexual
abuse on a child.


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